Derek Draper: Kate Garraway announces death of husband, 56, saying she was ‘holding his hand when he passed’

Derek Draper has died aged 56, his wife Kate Garraway announced in an Instagram post on Friday.

The broadcaster said she was “by his side holding his hand throughout the last long hours”.

In the post, Garraway said: "I'm sad to have to tell you all that my darling husband Derek has passed away.

"As some of you may know he has been critically ill following a cardiac arrest in early December which, because of the damage inflicted by Covid in March 2020, led to further complications.

"Derek was surrounded by his family in his final days and I was by his side holding his hand throughout the last long hours and when he passed.

"I have so much more to say, and of course I will do so in due course, but for now I just want to thank all the medical teams who fought so hard to save him and to make his final moments as comfortable and dignified as possible.

"Sending so much love and thanks to all of you who have so generously given our family so much support. Rest gently and peacefully now Derek, my love, I was so lucky to have you in my life."

Mr Draper was among the first in the UK to fall seriously ill with Covid-19 and was admitted to an intensive care unit as the country entered lockdown in March 2020.

He was placed in an induced coma and it was not until more than a year later, in April 2021, that he was able to return home to his family.

Some media reported that he had become the nation’s longest-suffering Covid patient after spending 13 months in hospital.

Despite being free of the virus, Mr Draper had suffered long-lasting damage to his organs and required daily care at home.

In 2021, Good Morning Britain presenter Garraway won a prize at the National Television Awards for the documentary Finding Derek, about her family’s experience during the pandemic.

In early July 2022, Garraway disclosed he had been readmitted to hospital and later that month dropped out of presenting Good Morning Britain as his condition worsened.

The February following, the ITV series Kate Garraway: Caring for Derek aired on ITV, and documented Draper’s arrival home from the hospital while also following Garraway as she navigated the “myriad challenges of the social care system and its complexities.”

Months later, the couple were invited to be Sir Elton John’s guests of honour at his Farewell Yellow Brick Road concert at London’s O2 Arena in the April.

Draper was photographed by his wife’s side in June, despite being in and out of hospital, when she collected her MBE from the Prince of Wales in an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Garraway with Draper and her family as she was given an MBE earlier this year (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Garraway with Draper and her family as she was given an MBE earlier this year (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

In December, The Sun reported Draper had “suffered a massive heart attack” and said Garraway was keeping a 24/7 vigil by his bedside.On Friday, tributes were paid to the former political lobbyist.

Sir Elton John wrote under Garraway's post: "So sorry to hear of this news, Kate. Love and thoughts to you and your family x”

Alison Hammond said on This Morning: "We just want to say all of us here at This Morning are sending our love to you Kate and of course Darcy and Billy."

Former political lobbyist Alistair Campbell wrote: "Very sad to hear the news about Derek Draper. He was a huge character, a giver not a taker, and had so much more to give before Covid took its toll. Sad above all for @kategarraway and the children. Their love and support was profound and unshakeable to the end. RIP."

Draper was part of one of Britain’s most prominent media power couples with his marriage to Garraway in 2005.

The New Labour spin doctor reached great heights of influence in the 1990s but became best known for his involvement in the “lobbygate” scandal.

A former researcher for Blairite Peter Mandelson, Mr Draper became a director of lobbying firm GPC Market Access in 1996 and set up the New Labour organisation Progress with Liam Byrne, who went on to become an MP.

It was while working at GPC that Mr Draper was caught on tape boasting to an undercover journalist of his government connections.

In one of the first sleaze scandals to hit Tony Blair’s fledgling administration, he reportedly claimed: “There are 17 people who count in this government, and to say I am intimate with all of them is the understatement of the century.”

Mr Draper insisted he had done nothing wrong in the so-called “cash for access” scandal dubbed “lobbygate” but admitted he did have a “big mouth”.

In 2008 he returned to the Labour spotlight as the head of the website LabourList, a left-wing rival to online portals such as Conservative Home.

He hit the headlines again in 2009 and stepped down as editor of LabourList after email correspondence between him and Damian McBride, one of Gordon Brown’s key aides, was leaked.

In the emails, Mr McBride proposed a campaign of unfounded personal smears against senior Conservatives on a new blog called RedRag, an idea praised by Mr Draper as “absolutely, totally brilliant”.

In a resignation statement released to the Guardian, Mr Draper acknowledged that his continued presence at LabourList - which was originally set up to discuss serious policy ideas - was detracting from the website.

In 2019 he announced he was resigning his Labour Party membership.Garraway is one of Britain's most recognisable broadcasters. She is part of the Good Morning Britain team on ITV and appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2007 and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in November 2019.

They have two children, Darcey and Billy.